Staying human in a machine age

7 minutes

If we are what we do, how can we stay human in an era of automation?

As automation sweeps across the world, we face challenging questions about how we work – and how we play. On the one hand, we are designing ourselves out of ever more jobs, leaving us disengaged. On the other hand, games and countless internet-enabled game-like activities are powerfully addictive. Is designing work to be more like play the answer or is there something fundamental about human abilities that we’re overlooking in how we deploy technology in our lives? In this Aeon interview, the UK writer Tom Chatfield discusses what it means to be our best selves in a time of automation.

Producer: Kellen Quinn

Interviewer: Nigel Warburton

Editor: Adam D’Arpino

Video/Making

The amazing man who produces iron using only wood, bark, fibre and clay

5 minutes

Video/Values & Beliefs

Why we need to move empathy from personal emotion to collective moral concern

5 minutes

Video/Fairness & Equality

On breasts, beauty and being a female journalist in the women’s movement

6 minutes

Idea/Computing & Artificial Intelligence

There is no difference between computer art and human art

Oliver Roeder

Video/Space Exploration

Embark on an interstellar, operatic adventure with the Voyager spacecrafts

15 minutes

Essay/Data & Information

Datagasm

Ever-faster feedback loops and micro-targeted digital porn are pushing human sexuality into some seriously weird places

Mark Hay

Video/The Future

Could the weirdest solution to the problem of nuclear waste also be the best?

14 minutes

Essay/Data & Information

‘Big data is people!’

The sum of our clickstreams is not an objective measure of who we are, but a personal portrait of our hopes and desires

Rebecca Lemov

Idea/Energy, Resources, & Sustainability

Is the cold fusion egg about to hatch?

Huw Price